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Loyal to Our Values

The Loyal Books Blog strives to give parents, educators, grandparents and friends the details on children\'s books. These aren\'t reviews written to sell books. These are reviews that truly inform.

Wild Trek by Jim Kjelgaard

February 12, 2013

Children’s and Young Adult Book Reviews: Wild Trek by Jim Kjelgaard   910L

wild trek wilderness fictionKjelgaard’s books have become a favorite with my sons, but at first  I had to talk #2 son into reading these. He thought they were just like all the other “dog books” where the “dog dies at the end.” They were delighted to find out these books are action packed and topped off with happy endings.

This is much more than a “dog story.” Wild Trek does indeed have a semi-wild dog at the center of the plot, but it’s much more about two men learning how to survive in the wilderness of Alaska with only the crudest of tools. What makes this survival story stand out is its credibility. This is probably the most realistic adventure/survival  fiction I have ever read.

Chiri is vaguely described as a husky type dog who has grown up in the wilds of Alaska. Chiri is loyal to only one human; modern day trapper, hunter, and woodsman, Link Stevens.  Link understands Chiri’s past and allows him the freedom to run and hunt for himself.

Link is surprised one early spring day when the local law officer rides into the Gander River cabin slumped over his horse. A horse wreck has resulted in John Murdoch’s broken arm, and the two day ride into  Steven’s cabin has left him weak and unable to continue. Murdoch was on his way to look for two men whose plane has gone down in the vast Caribou Range wilderness.

Stevens realizes that going for help will take too much time. He makes Murdock comfortable, and sets off for the Caribou Range himself, with Chiri at his side. The trek into the uncharted range is long and difficult, but Stevens is enthralled with the beauty and bounty of this unsettled area.

After finding a mountain pass to the area the plane was last seen, Stevens eventually finds the two men.  Trigg Antray, the wildlife researcher, is injured, but his resourcefulness and philosophical approach to his hardship has allowed him to adapt and remain hopeful during their trying time in the wilderness.  The pilot, Garridge,  has not faired so well and seems withdrawn and unstable.  Steven’s instincts tell him he can’t trust Garridge, and his suspicions are proven correct when Garridge abandons them, taking all their provisions, including Steven’s rifle and ammunition.

Stevens and Antray are left with only a few crude tools, and they must try to get out of the Caribou Range while Antray still has strength. Antray’s scientific mind draws parallels between their predicament and what generations of hunters and gatherers before them have faced. His observations are often helpful and the tools they build and strategies they use become useful as they continue to struggle for survival and devise a plan for getting back to civilization.

Flags: See the About page for explanation of flags.

  • Stevens finds a mountain lion’s den which contains human bones
  • Garridge is mentally unstable and reacts to Steven’s arrival with paranoia
  • Garridge and Antray frankly discuss their possible deaths if they don’t make it out of the wilderness before winter sets in
  • Garridge fires a rifle at Stevens
  • Garridge is attacked and killed by a mountain lion

Big Red by Jim Kjelgaard

January 31, 2013

Children’s and Young Adult Book Reviews: Big Red by Jim Kjelgaard    910L

big red kjelgaardA classic boy-and-his-dog book.  This book is a great blend of realistic outdoor adventure and the special bond between a boy and his dog. Big Red is a believable adventure tale.  Danny and his father, Ross, display a balance of  appreciation for the natural environment coupled with the skills of woodsmen leading a hardscrabble life in the Wintapi forest. Life in the Wintapi hasn’t changed much for the independent families who make their living in the back country; hunting, trapping, and gathering have created a resourceful and straightforward people.

Read more…

Yearly Month Long Blogging Sabbatical and a New Christian Book Community

January 24, 2013

Well I didn’t really go into December saying to myself, “I should take the last half of December and most of January off from blogging,” but that’s what I did. I kept thinking about posting, but I felt like I needed to just take a break so that posting wouldn’t become another “have to” in my life.

I post about children’s books because I am always on the look out for good books for my kids, my friends’ kids, nieces and nephews, etc.  It’s not something I do for money (annual gross income; zero!) or out of obligation. I started this blog simply because I couldn’t find many resources for books reviewed via a Christian world view.  I haven’t exactly added a tome of information to the topic, but I have slowly plodded along adding reviews I thought would be helpful. The result of my sabbatical is that I am ready to go back into blogging with renewed energy. I think I’ll make this a yearly practice.

In the last few years I’ve noticed a significant increase in Christian book blogs, review sites, and small publishing houses specializing in Christian authors. I found out about one today that I would like to share: Novel Crossing: The Intersection of Faith and Fiction.

I’m not a regular reader of Women’s Christian Fiction or even Christian Novels- I’m more the nonfiction type, but there is a nice list of Young Adult books on the site that might help me in my book searches for teens. I’m also impressed with the functionality of the site and its community interaction.

It’s free to join and you can post your favorite reads, want-to-reads, and read other members’ reviews to help you choose books. Check it out.

Gift Ideas for Book Lovers: Bookends

December 17, 2012

Original, customized bookends make a nice gift for the reader on your list. You can find some ready made custom designs at Just Book Ends and Etsy, but with a little imagination and a few supplies you could make bookends from objects found at hobby and craft stores, the attic, the junk drawer, and don’t forget the garage!

Here’s a short brainstorm for recycling and re-purposing items for bookends:

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Gift Ideas for Child Readers

December 12, 2012

Help kids keep track of their reading time.

Digital time keeping bookmarks from Mark My Time. What a great idea! These colorful book marks can be set to count down minutes to help your child reach a daily reading goal. These timers can also be used to keep track of accumulated hours. I wish I had known about these when my kids were in elementary school and the local library always had a prize for the kids who read a certain number of hours over the Christmas school break.

Gift Ideas: Boxed Book Sets for Children

December 10, 2012

A short list of boxed book gift sets I have read or would consider as gifts for the young readers in my family.

Red_gift_ideasGrandma’s Attic Boxed Gift Set includes four of the Grandma’s Attic series In Grandma’s Attic, More Stories From Grandma’s Attic, Still More Stories From Grandma’s Attic, and Treasures from Grandma’s Attic.  The series covers remembered stories from Grandma’s girlhood on a nineteenth century Michigan farm. Every short story has a moral lesson. Find it at Christian Book dot com

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Gift Ideas; Booklights

December 8, 2012

Gift Ideas for Book Lovers and Avid Readers

A practical gift idea for book lovers is a book light for night time reading. I have an old clip on light that I’m sure cost less than ten dollars and it’s still going strong after six years. I use it at home, when camping, and on road trips.

In general, there are a couple of different approaches to book lights, the majority clipping on to the book in some way. When you are shopping around,  keep a few things in mind: how the light attaches to the book; the lumens, or brightness, batteries needed; and general ease of use. Read more…

Soldier’s Heart by Gary Paulsen

December 4, 2012

Children’s Book Review from a Christian Mom:  Soldier’s Heart by Gary Paulsen Lexile Level 1000

civil war young adultI read a lot of books I never review on this blog because I want to be able to recommend good reads. These last two, Fire Pony and A Soldiers Heart, fell somewhere between OK and never mind. There is a strange element to each that was disturbing in a distracting way. It made me wonder what the author was intending. Read more…

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